Thanks to Keys friend, Sloan B., for the heads up re: the corporate killing of the weekly Solares Hill paper. For 30 years Solares Hill covered the essence of Keys living and thinking. It’s demise is one of those final nails in a way of life that extended well beyond KW and is encapsulated in one of their final “Quotes for the Week.” V:
“Civil disobedience is not
our problem. Our problem
is civ…il obedience. Our
problem is that people have
obeyed the dictates of leaders
and millions have been
killed because of this obedience.
Our problem is that
people are obedient all over
the world in the face of poverty
and starvation and stupidity
and war and cruelty.
Our problem is that people
are obedient while our jails
are full of petty thieves and
the grand thieves are running
the country. That’s our
— Howard Zinn
Below is my reply on that Facebook page, in which I later fixed a few flubs.
Sloan Bashinsky Amen, and, I was told I was a little out of line tonight at a “channel-widening study” forum, because I asked the bad people who want bigger cruise ships and more cruise ship passengers calling on Key West, how come the bad people (the Key West Chamber of Commerce) were not raising bloody hell about Key West allowing the dirtiest cruise ships in the industry, according to the Chamber’s spokesperson at the forum a couple of nights ago, to call on Key West. Last night’s moderator [Ezra Marcus] kept trying to protect the spokesperson [Dr. Robin Lockwood], as I kept trying to get him to answer my question, which was stated in plain English and the spokesperson understood the question because I had asked him the same question after the previous forum concluded. The moderator restated my question, which was not my question. I stated the question again and said the spokesperson knows, the Chamber knows, these dirty cruise ships leave Port Everglades and en route to Key West they dump their human shit and ground up old food into the sea just outside the reef line. They know what these sea and reef killers are doing. Why aren’t they raising bloody hell about it? Maybe they can get them stopped from coming to Key West. Maybe those dirty cruise ships will bypass the Keys altogether and go straight to Cuba or wherever. The moderator, a local radio news host, turned off my microphone. He restated my question again, which was not my question, and I said so without the microphone. He asked me what was my question? I stated it again and said I wanted the spokesperson to answer it. Every person before me was asking the talking heads questions and getting answers, sometimes straightforward answers, some times not. The moderator told the Chamber’s spokesperson to answer my question. I went back to my seat as I listened to him say he had not said at the earlier forum that the dirtiest cruise ships are calling on Key West, whereupon, the fellow [Jolly Benson] who later would say I was a little out of line, said, oh yes, the Chamber’s spokesperson did say that, and then my later critic asked for a show of hands in the audience of who had heard the Chamber’s spokesperson say that, and about 20 hands went up. Then, the Chamber spokesperson started saying how the cruise ships calling on Key West are legal by Florida and US law. He never answered my question: Why was the Chamber not raising bloody hell about the dirtiest cruise ships in the industry calling on Key West? When my now critic chastised me for being a little over the line, I said to him, his mother and father and several other people in his camp (anti-channel-widening, so bigger cruise ships can get into Key West), if I had not done what I did, I would have been out of line. My critic had told me after the previous forum that he had heard the Chamber’s spokesperson, a local orthopedic surgeon, tell someone else that he had made a mistake saying that about the dirtiest cruises ships in the industry calling on Key West. Then, my critic said the video the Chamber took of that forum containing that highly incriminating evidence was taken down two hours after it went up on YouTube (spelling?) Moreover, my critic said he had tried to get a copy of the video, he also was the spokesperson against the channel widening at that forum, and the Chamber refused to give it to him, claiming it is the Chamber’s property. I told my critic a week ago that he cannot play by their rules, he must make them play by his rules, or they will suck him into their game and he will get tangled up in it. I’m probably twice his age, maybe older than that. I learned in the late 1980s that politically correct is a terminal spiritual disease. There are many ways to be civilly disobedient, and there was a time when civil disobedience was respected in America. In fact, that’s how America rid itself of British rule. If the spokesperson for the Chamber lied tonight about what he said at the previous forum, what else is he lying about? Sadly, I did not think to ask him that. Nor, I don’t imagine, would I have been given a chance to ask another question. The moderator was really upset with me. I was left wondering if he was not in the Chamber’s pocket? For if he holds himself out as a news journalist, and if that is true, he should have been as interested in the Chamber’s spokesperson answering my question, as I imagine most of the people in the audience were interested in hearing his answer. Vicki knows about this saga, and I hear some similar cruise ship stuff goes on in Savannah and Charleston. I’m getting down off my rocky horse now.
What set my my joust with Dr. Robin Lockwood
was I first asked him if he and the Chamber were interested in doing all they could to protect the reef? He said yes. Then, I let him and the Chamber have it.His sidekick, Jennifer Hulse,
earlier had made a point about being the only lawyer among the spokespersons on either side of the issue. When she tried to answer my question to Dr. Lockwood, I told her I was a lawyer, too, and she needed to be quiet because I did not ask her the question; I asked Doctor Lookwood the question because he was the one who had said at the previous forum that the dirtiest cruise ships were calling on Key West. Jennifer did not speak for the Chamber at that forum, Dr. Lockwood had it all by himself that night.Last night, Dr. Lockwood and the dirtiest cruise ship lovers camp continued arguing corals love cruise ship silt, while Jolly Benson
kept agreeing, sarcastically, that corals love cruise ship silt. Jolly said silt does not kill adult corals, but it stops them from reproducing. He said there are studies on that, real studies done by real scientists, as opposed to studies done by the Army Corps of Engineers.
If the referendum passes, that will be used to try to sway the Corps and NOAH (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) and Congress to change the rules, so new dredging can be done in the Sanctuary where new dredging currently is not allowed. Presently, the only dredging allowed in the Sanctuary is maintenance dredging to keep existing channels from filling in with silt.
Someone in the audience last night asked if NOAH, which looks after the Sanctuary, and is under the US Department of Commerce, is compromised by who its boss is? It was a rhetorical question.
I told Jolly after the forum that I still feel the vote might be very close, and the referendum might pass because lots of people are more concerned about only seven percent of Key West’s total tourist economy, which cruise ships represent, than they are about what cruise ships are doing to the sea and the reef. I said that’s why I keep talking about what cruise ships calling on Key West really are like, maybe it will convince some people to vote No on the referendum, who are not already ready to vote No.
Coming out of the Tennessee Williams Theater, I spoke with a fellow who said he had been a charter boat captain in Key West for over thirty years, and many times he has seen much worse cruise ship silt in Key West’s channel than what Jolly Benson and his brother Will have been putting online, as have I been putting it online in lots of my posts. This photo below is Will’s handiwork.
Out in the parking lot, Naja Girard, President of Last Stand, co-publisher of www.thebluepaper.com
, said of Dr. Lockwood saying he did not say the dirtiest cruise ships are calling on Key West, “If he lied about that, what else is he lying about?” Naja was at the previous forum. She heard Dr. Lockwood say the dirtiest cruise ships are calling on Key West. The very next day, the Key West Citizen reported Dr. Lockwood:
“Right now, we have the worst possible cruise ships coming to Key West,” Lockwood said, adding that the state of Alaska doesn’t allow Carnival ships in its ports because of the company’s environmental record. “If the study and the widening aren’t done, then we’ll be stuck with the old, leftover Carnival ships that are coming here instead of the newer, clean, super-green ships.”
Longer and bigger cruise ships carrying considerably more passengers than the cruise ships calling on Key West now carry. All the while, the dirtiest cruise ships will continue to call on Key West until the channel is widened 20 years from now, if the referendum passes, and for all we know, those dirtiest cruise ships will keep calling on Key West thereafter.
You can bet the conch farm, the longer, bigger cruise ships will tear up the channel bottom even worse, and they will dump hordes of passengers onto Duval Street and make it even more unfun for locals and non-cruise ship tourists to be there, and conch trains and trolleys will squire those hordes of cruise ship passengers around Key West, clogging city streets even worse, and disturbing residential neighborhoods even more with their loudspeakers. There is nothing about cruise ships that corals love, other than cruise ships’ absence.
On the new clean and green cruise ships, once again from DeeVon Quirolo, co-founder of Reef Relief:
The cruise ship industry made a big deal about agreeing to go to secondary treatment–settling the solids and adding chlorine ON NEW SHIPS ONLY; but they will still dump the highly concentrated liquids overboard and this will at best eventually include only a small fraction of the cruise ships on the high seas. The worst part is that they dump outside the reef tract on their way to Key West from Port Everglades.
The current situation is that cruise ships routinely dump thousands of gallons of partially treated concentrated waste in the ocean outside of the reef on their way to Key West from Port Everglades. They run just outside the reef to avoid the offshore counter current of the Gulfstream, which is why the Area to be Avoided was established by the International Maritime Organization to keep them far enough off critical areas where many large ships ran aground the reef. When I was on the Cruise Ship Task Force for the City, we tried running a sample of cruise ship waste through the [city's] sewage treatment plant, but it was so anoxic that it would have shut down the anerobic action of the plant by depleting all the oxygen needed. Plus it was in salt, not fresh water, so that was an additional negative factor that reduced the potential for the biological treatment that is employed at the plant.
All the best, DeeVon